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There are many reasons why you might be considering sports video cameras. Maybe you want to highlight talent for recruiting purposes, or you just want to showcase some action. And while a modern smartphone is certainly capable of filming sports, having a dedicated camera for the job will elevate the professional quality of your footage. So keep reading for some of the best sports camcorders to suit a variety of budgets and needs.
Digital Camera For Sports Action Shots
Before buying a camera to film sports, it’s important to consider the particular nuances of the specific sport (or sports) you’ll be filming and where your footage will end up. It is also important to consider whether you are filming a professional level sporting event, an intermediate level event or something more casual. These will also influence which type of camera makes the most sense to bring. For example, if you want to cover an event from end to end, you want a camera with no recording limitations. This feature will be less critical if you just want to create a highlight reel from your footage.
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In this buying guide, we explore some different styles of sports cameras to suit different budgets. At the high end are cinema cameras. A cinema camera allows you to shoot at very high resolutions and also gives you the ability to switch lenses based on what you might be shooting – making it the tool of choice for many professional level photographers.
If you don’t need something quite as advanced, there are other options. For example, a small action camera would be better for capturing unique angles or POV footage. They’re also great for filming action sports because they’re usually rugged and waterproof. Finally, a mirrorless camera can be a good choice if you want something to shoot 4K video, but don’t mind having the ability to take high-quality stills as well.
Our picks for the best sports camcorders Best professional sports camcorder: Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro G2
Why it did: This versatile cinema camera offers 15 stops of dynamic range, can shoot up to 300 frames per second (great for slow-motion shooting), and its remote controls make it easy to change settings while the camera is rolling.
Action Camera Fhd 4k 24mp, 30m Wifi Underwater Waterproof Camera, Eis Anti Shake, 170° Wide Angle Sports Camera With 2 Batteries, Accessories Kit Suitable For Helmet, B(size:32g Card)
If you’ve used a DSLR camera before, you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable with this Black Magic film camera. Although it seems like an expensive option for filming sports, it is a fraction of the cost of the equipment that most broadcast stations use. But it will still give you high quality footage of the big game. In addition, it has ATEM switch integration, which means this is an excellent choice for multi-camera live streaming.
The Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro G2 can shoot 120 frames per second in 4.6K and up to 300 frames per second at 1080p for dramatic slow-motion movies. It offers 15 stops of dynamic range at ISO 3200 and has a USB-C expansion port for recording directly to external drives. Finally, the Blackmagic RAW recording is fantastic and its external controls make it much easier to change settings on the fly.
Why it made the cut: The best choice for capturing extreme sports from unique perspectives, the Hero10 has class-leading image stabilization, can shoot 5.3K video and has a durable, waterproof construction. It’s great for filming action sports like snowboarding and surfing.
GoPro’s Hero10 is a step above the crowded field of action cameras. Built around a brand new G2 processor, you get increased resolution and HyperSmooth 4.0 digital image stabilization. The image stabilization results in smooth footage without a gimbal, even when you move a lot. And it can record 5.3K video at 60fps or 4K at up to 120fps.
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The camera quality is not the only useful feature for action sports. It’s waterproof without a housing up to 33 feet, and if you pair it with an underwater housing accessory, it’ll be protected down to 196 feet. In addition, it has a built-in 2-pin mount that makes it easy to attach to a variety of accessories and mounts. It is an excellent choice for capturing unique perspectives of a sporting event by mounting it on a hoop or goal post. And with the right accessories, it will capture riveting POV footage.
If you want to invest in a GoPro but don’t have the budget for the Hero10, the Hero9 is still a more than capable camera. Read our full review here.
Why it worked: This all-in-one gimbal and pocket-sized 4K camera gives sports shooters beautiful, stabilized footage in a small, affordable package.
This all-in-one gimbal/camera combo makes shooting stabilized sports footage a breeze. And as the name suggests, it’s compact enough to fit comfortably in your pocket. It’s built around a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor and features a fast f/1.8 lens with a 20mm equivalent field of view.
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Despite its small size, you’ll be able to get a lot of quality out of it, as it can record 4K video up to 60 fps. Additionally, the tracking mode can follow faces – making this an exciting choice for capturing a solo athlete such as a gymnast or figure skater.
Why it did: This hybrid mirrorless camera is an excellent choice for shooting video as well as stills due to its superb image stabilization system and powerful 10-bit 4K internal recording capabilities.
The video capabilities of the Fujifilm X-T4 make it an excellent choice for amateur sports shooters who would also benefit from a stills camera. The in-body image stabilization along with 10-bit 4K video capabilities make this a great tool for sports videographers looking for a lightweight option to bring to the game.
It can shoot 4K at 60 fps and can keep rolling for about 30 minutes. That border should cover most of the action. While it lacks subject tracking when shooting video, it can still track faces while recording, which is great if you’re going to pair your body with a long lens to capture the details of your game.
Hands On: Sigma 150 600mm F5 6.3 Dg Dn Os Sports Lens
Why it worked: It’s a budget-friendly option for shooting sports that doesn’t skimp on features like face detection and image stabilization.
If your budget is tight, Sony’s entry-level Handycam can be a great low-cost option for filming sports. Although it lacks 4K recording, the 60x zoom found on this camera will be superior to the zoom quality you get from your smartphone. In addition, there are additional functions such as face recognition and image stabilization. Don’t expect the highest quality video recording, but this camera is definitely capable of capturing sports, especially at the amateur level.
Many cameras on the market at the moment can keep up with the fast pace of shooting sports. When choosing the best camera for the job, consider the sport you’re trying to film, where your footage will end up, and your budget. The best camera for a TV professional will be very different than the best camera for someone who wants to film their child’s little league game.
The GoPro Hero10 is best for filming sports. That’s because of the high-quality build, excellent image quality, electronic image stabilization and the brand new GP 2 processor. Although it is more expensive than other action cameras on the market, its advanced features set it above the rest.
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Techniques for filming a sporting event will change drastically depending on the sport. As a general rule of thumb, it is important to stay away from the athletes competing and any officials at the match. If you are an amateur capturing the game, it is also important to stay away from the professional camera operators and photographers.
A good camera for filming sports depends on what sport you are trying to film. If you want to film something from end to end, you want a camera that has no recording limits. If you’re capturing a field sport, you’ll likely need a long lens to capture the details. Indoor sports need a camera that works well in low light. If the sport takes place outside, it will also be valuable to have a set-up that has a robust, weather-resistant construction.
Choosing the right camera for filming sports has a lot to do with what sport you are filming. Before buying a camera for work, it can be useful to make a list of the sports you are most likely to film. A camera that is good for capturing action sports may not be the best choice for recording a baseball or football game.
While you can certainly rig a GoPro near the hoop for some interesting angles, filming a basketball game from the stands with a GoPro might not be the most interesting footage. The extreme wide angle will cause players to look further away, making it difficult to make out specifics about the game when rewatching it. But rigging anything near the hoop will require a permit, and there’s always a chance your GoPro will be knocked down in the act.
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